Collecting stamps from different countries is a way to expand your collection

Collecting stamps from different countries is a way to expand your collection

While email, texting and social media may have taken some business away from mail delivery, it certainly hasn?t stopped people from collecting stamps. There are over 20 million stamp collectors just in the U.S. and many millions more worldwide, mostly because the hobby is inexpensive, easy to start, doesn?t take up much space and is a lot of fun, not to mention educational.

Because there are so many different kinds of stamps, most collectors start with a niche, such as stamps featuring animals, stamps from a certain time period or stamps featuring famous people. A popular niche is stamps from different countries. Since the local post office only carries stamps from the U.S., it can be a challenge to obtain them from countries on the other side of the world.

A good way to start a world stamp collection is to purchase a beginner?s collection from a reputable stamp dealer. These collections may be a handful of stamps from one specific country,  single stamps from many countries or even a mystery grab bag.

These stamp dealers also offer books for mounting stamps and equipment for removing them from envelopes, examining and handling them, attaching them to pages and protecting them from sunlight and dust.

Look for stamp dealers in your area ? they?re often listed under ?hobbies? and may also deal in coins and other collectables. Auction sites like eBay are great places to buy and sell stamps. Check out the information and history on sellers carefully and never send cash.

An inexpensive way to add to your world stamp collection is to ask relatives and friends who travel to send you postcards from the countries they visit or purchase stamps and bring them back. You can also use social media sites to make friends with collectors around the world who might be interested in trading. Look for web sites of stamp collectors clubs ? many have forums and discussion groups where you can learn more about where to find stamps and the hobby in general.

If you have stamp dealers in your area, ask about local collectors clubs and attend some meetings. They?re great places to swap stories and stamps and most collectors are always anxious to welcome newcomers ? you never know when one of them might be interested in trading or selling the last stamp missing from your collection. Stamp clubs often sponsor or host stamp shows where out-of-town and even foreign dealers can set up tables or booths. Why wait to travel to another country for stamps when the stamps can come to you?

For more information on collecting stamps from different countries, visit the web site of the American Philatelic Society, (?philately? is the study of stamps) the largest nonprofit stamp collecting and philately organization in the world. The local library usually has a good collection of books on all aspects of the hobby. Some will list famous people who have collected stamps.

Whether you collect stamps from around the world or have another favorite niche, it?s fun to find out you share this interesting and rewarding hobby with people like President Franklin Roosevelt, musician John Lennon and aviator Amelia Earhart.